Liriam, a university student from Panama, joined others from Germany, Korea, and Brazil to begin their service as part of AIESEC, a youth leadership organization that allows members to explore and develop their leadership potential.
The group arrived in Austin a couple of weeks ago not knowing what they would be working on. Their first stop was in Waco to volunteer at World Hunger Relief. During their time there, they worked on farm planting, and harvesting and learning about sustainability. After a couple of days, the group came back to Austin to volunteer at the Food Bank.
The group volunteered in different parts of the Food Bank—the warehouse, garden and kitchen—for a little more than a week. For Liriam, the Food Bank was like nothing else she had ever seen or experienced.
“I’m very impressed with this movement that you have here. It’s shocking to me because I don’t see this too much in Panama. I am not completely sure if we have a food bank, but if we do, I know it isn’t this big,” Liriam said.
Even though Liriam has to complete 100 hours of community service as part of her degree program, volunteering is something new to her, too. After working with hundreds of volunteers, Liriam was surprised to see so many people donating their time to help fight hunger.
“I’m just super amazed of how you work every day here…without expecting anything and how many people from this area come to work just because they want to help,” Liriam said. “It’s very inspiring and heart touching, because I don’t usually see that where I am from. I usually never do this in my country myself.”
After learning about how the Food Bank fights hunger by providing food to children and families by prepping meals in the kitchen, inspecting and sorting food and working in our garden, Liriam wants to take her experience back home to fight hunger in her country.
“I know that in my country there is so much poverty and so many kids sleeping without eating anything and people begging for something to eat. I think that learning from this and seeing how you guys manage everything maybe someday I can start doing and replicating the same thing you guys are doing,” Liriam said.
While the group learned about hunger relief at the Food Bank, their volunteer work isn't finished. In a couple of weeks, they’ll be teaching kids about sustainability in Charlotte, North Carolina.